More than $2.08 million will be invested in rural N.C.
RALEIGH, N.C, Oct. 13, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is awarding $110 million in grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across the Nation. These grants will help 208 rural health care organizations expand critical services for nearly 5 million people in 43 states and Guam.
“Access to modern and sustainable health care infrastructure is critical to the health, well-being and prosperity for the millions of people who live in rural and Tribal communities,” Torres Small said. “That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to making sure that people who need it most, no matter where they live, have access to high-quality and reliable health care services like urgent care, primary care, and dental care. Through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants, I am announcing today, USDA is being a strong partner to people in 43 states and Guam.”
The investments USDA is announcing will help build, renovate and equip health care facilities like hospitals and clinics in rural areas. They also include more than $9 million for 12 rural health care organizations to help 187,000 people living in energy communities, which are areas with high concentrations of coal-dependent jobs. This funding will help communities that are vital to our country’s energy production as the nation transitions to a clean-energy economy.
The Biden-Harris Administration is making this Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program funding available through its historic legislative package, the American Rescue Plan Act. The Act and this program are examples of the government’s ability to respond quickly to ensure every person and family has access to high-quality health care no matter their zip code.
The investments will be used for projects such as those to help rural hospitals and health care providers implement telehealth and nutrition assistance programs, increase staffing to administer COVID-19 vaccines and testing, build or renovate facilities, and purchase medical supplies. They will also help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care problems, which will help build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic. In North Carolina:
- Bounty and Soul will use a $425,800 grant to purchase meals and fund food distribution expenditures for Bounty and Soul. This community-based non-profit provides access to fresh produce, and wellness education through in- person markets at local churches, schools, daycare, and senior living facilities. Due to COVID-19, these services were shut down. In response, Bounty and Soul pivoted to a drive-through market to continue operating and incurred a significant increase in operating expenses. Now, they will have a facility for food distribution, personnel, transportation and other essential items and services for rural residents of Black Mountain.
- McDowell Local Food Advisory Council will use a $371,200 grant to provide food distribution to rural residents. The Foothills Food Hub provides emergency food support to its service area in McDowell County since the onset of the COVID-19 public health emergency in early 2020. The program addresses food insecurity and fights increased financial hardships associated with COVID-19 due to economic uncertainty, job loss, reduced work hours, stress, illness, and food price increases. The project will include kitchen equipment, food inventory, and help with transportation maintenance costs, and transportation fees.
- Bladen Healthcare will use a $282,700 grant a Caterpillar 200-kilowatt (kW) diesel fueled generator. The organization has an outdated, small unreliable generator that reached its useful life. The updated equipment capacity will be greater and provide back-up power in case of emergencies. The equipment is necessary to keep the facility open for quality care for patients, including COVID-19 patients who may be on ventilators and need continuous power for rural residents.
- Washington Regional Medical Center will use a $1,00,000 grant to renovate. The facility will consist of approximately 2,000 square feet. The emergency department will have six exam spaces for patient treatment, an administrative area, mental health treatment space, and three control stations. The proposed project will improve delivery of emergency medical services, increase efficiency of patient exams and treatment spaces, and the hospital's ability to continue operating and care for patients, as well as reduce potential of spreading COVID-19 for rural residents of Washington County.
Background: Emergency Rural Health Care Grants
Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021 to deliver immediate economic relief to people impacted by the pandemic. Within months after the Act’s passage, USDA responded quickly by making this funding available to ensure the long-term availability of rural health care services.
In August 2021, USDA made the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants available through the American Rescue Plan Act to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to health care services and nutrition assistance.
The assistance is helping provide immediate relief to support rural hospitals, health care clinics and local communities. USDA is administering the funds through Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.